The importance of range edges for an irruptive species during extreme weather events
- First Online:
- 387 Downloads
Threats to wildlife species from extreme events, such as droughts, are predicted to increase in frequency and magnitude with climate change. Extreme events can cause mortality and community-level changes, but for some mobile species, movement away from areas affected may be a viable option.
We examined the effect of extreme weather on spatial patterns of abundance for an irruptive grassland bird species, the Dickcissel (Spiza americana).
We calculated route-level annual abundances and abundance anomalies from 1980 to 2012 from North American Breeding Bird Survey data, and classified the Dickcissel’s range into core and edge regions using these abundances. We then compared abundances in the core and edge regions to the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index, a measure of drought, in linear regressions.
We found that Dickcissel irruptions in the northern range edges were related to drought conditions in the range core, potentially a consequence of birds being ‘pushed’ to the range edge when weather was unsuitable. Specifically, Dickcissels moved into refuge sites containing a high proportion of cultivated crops, with higher vegetation greenness, than those areas they leave during drought years.
In a changing climate where more frequent extreme weather may be more common, conservation strategies for weather-sensitive species may require consideration of habitat in the edges of species’ ranges, even though non-core areas may be unoccupied in ‘normal’ years. Our results highlight the conservation importance of range edges in providing refuge from extreme events, such as drought, and climate change.
KeywordsDrought Extreme weather Grassland birds Range edge Range core Refuges
- Albright TP, Pidgeon AM, Rittenhouse CD, Clayton MK, Wardlow BD, Flather CH, Culbert PD, Radeloff VC (2010b) Combined effects of heat waves and droughts on avian communities across the conterminous United States. Ecosphere 1(5):Article 12Google Scholar
- Allen RG, Pereira LS, Raes D, Smith M (1998) Crop evapotranspiration-Guidelines for computing crop water requirements-FAO Irrigation and drainage paper 56. FAO, Rome 300:6541Google Scholar
- Coumou D, Rahmstorf S (2012) A decade of weather extremes. Nat Clim Chang 2(7):491–496Google Scholar
- Dechant J, Sondreal M, Johnson D, Igl LD, Goldade CM, Zimmerman AL, Euliss BR (2002) Effects of management practices on grassland birds: Dickcissel. USGS North Prairie Wildl Res Cent 114Google Scholar
- Emlen JT, Wiens JA (1965) The Dickcissel invasion of 1964 in southern Wisconsin. Passeng Pigeon 27:51–59Google Scholar
- Frawley BJ, Best LB (1991) Effects of mowing on breeding bird abundance and species composition in alfalfa fields. Wildl Soc Bull 19(2):135–142Google Scholar
- Fretwell S (1986) Distribution and abundance of the Dickcissel. Curr Ornithol 4:211–242Google Scholar
- Homer C, Dewitz J, Fry J, Coan M, Hossain N, Larson C, Herold N, Wickham J (2007) Completion of the 2001 national land cover database for the counterminous United States. Photogramm Eng Remote Sens 73(4):337Google Scholar
- Hurley RJ, Franks EC (1976) Changes in the breeding ranges of two grassland birds. Auk 93(1):108–115Google Scholar
- Igl L (1991) The role of climate and mowing on Dickcissel movements, distribution, and abundance. Iowa StateGoogle Scholar
- IPCC (2007) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. In: Solomon S e. a. (ed), Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge, UK, p 996Google Scholar
- IPCC (2012) Managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation. In: Field CB, Barros V, Stocker TF, Qin D, Dokken DJ, Ebi KL, Mastrandrea MD, Midgley PM (eds) A special report of working groups I and II of the intergovernmental panel on climate shange. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 582Google Scholar
- Kingsolver JG (1989) Weather and the population dynamics of insects: integrating physiological and population ecology. Physiol Zool 62(2):314–334Google Scholar
- Kunkel KE, Bromirski PD, Brooks HE, Cavazos T, Douglas AV, Easterling DR, Emanuel KA, Groisman PYa, Holland GJ, Knutson TR, Kossin JP, Komar PD, Levinson DH, Smith RL (2008) Observed changes in weather and climate extremes in weather and climate extremes in a changing climate. Regions of focus: North America, Hawaii, Caribbean, and U.S. Pacific Islands. In: Karl TR, Meehl GA, Miller CD, Hassol SJ, Waple AM, Murray WL (eds) A report by the U.S. climate change science program and the subcommittee on global change research, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- McKee TB, Doesken NJ, Kleist J (1993) The relationship of drought frequency and duration to time scales. In: Proceedings of the 8th conference on applied Climatology, Boston, MA. American Meteorological Society, vol 17, pp 179–183Google Scholar
- Mitchell KE, Lohmann D, Houser PR, Wood EF, Schaake JC, Robock A, Cosgrove BA, Bailey AA (2004) The multi-institution North American Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS): utilizing multiple GCIP products and partners in a continental distributed hydrological modeling system. J Geophys Res: Atmos 109(D7):D07S90Google Scholar
- Peterjohn BG, Sauer JR (1999) Population status of North American grassland birds from the North American breeding bird survey, 1966–1996. Stud Avian Biol 19:27–44Google Scholar
- Pidgeon AM, Flather CH, Radeloff VC, Lepczyk CA, Keuler NS, Wood EM, Stewart SI, Hammer RB (2014) Systematic temporal patterns in the relationship of housing development with forest bird diversity. Conserv Ecol 28(5):1291–1301Google Scholar
- Post W, Sanders F, Wood L (2009) The history of Dickcissesl (Spiza americana) nesting on the southeastern coset of North America. Floriday Field Nat 37(2):45–50Google Scholar
- Prestby TG, Anich NM (2013) The summer of the Dickcissel: 2013. Passeng Pigeon 75(2):155–168Google Scholar
- Rummukainen M (2012) Changes in climate and weather extremes in the 21st century. Wiley Interdiscip Rev: Clim Chang 3(2):115–129Google Scholar
- Sauer JR, Hines JE, Fallon JE, Pardieck KL, Ziolkowski DJJ, Link WA (2012) The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966–2011. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. In: USGS (ed), 12.13.2011 edn., Laurel, MDGoogle Scholar
- Sealy SG (1976) The 1973 Dickcissel invasion of Southern Manitoba. Can Field-Nat 90:464–466Google Scholar
- Taber RD (1947) The Dickcissel in Wisconsin. Passeng Pigeon 9:39–46Google Scholar
- Temple SA (2002) Dickcissel (Spiza americana). In: Poole A (ed) The birds of North America online. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, IthicaGoogle Scholar
- Vogelmann JE, Howard SM, Yang L, Larson CR, Wylie BK, Van Driel N (2001) Completion of the 1990s National Land Cover Data Set for the conterminous United States from Landsat Thematic Mapper data and ancillary data sources. Photogramm Eng Remote Sens 67(6)Google Scholar
- Zimmerman JL (1965) Bioenergetics of the Dickcissel, Spiza americana. Physiol Zool 38(4):370–389Google Scholar
- Zimmerman JL (1971) The territory and its density dependent effect in Spiza americana. Auk 88(3):591–612Google Scholar